One of the wedding gifts I got lo’ those many years ago was an ice cream maker. Between the heating of the cream, getting the ingredients just right, storing the churn bowl in the freezer overnight, we used the machine all of two times before deciding ice cream was just much easier and tastier, to buy it from the store.
So I’m curious about the CUPPLE, currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, which promises to let me make fresh-churned ice cream directly on my countertop anytime I want.
Think of the CUPPLE as a Keurig for ice cream. You put a shelf-stable cup of base ingredients in the countertop machine and push a button. The CUPPLE automatically chills and churns the base to produce ice cream and sorbet in roughly three minutes.
The advantages of this system, according to the CUPPLE creators, is that you get better ice cream because it isn’t stored frozen for weeks (the self-contained ingredient cups don’t need to be frozen), and you get a denser, more velvety ice cream because air isn’t whipped into the ice cream.
The CUPPLE has dual chambers to churn two servings at once. The machine itself is roughly a foot and a half long by 14 inches wide and nearly a foot high. Initial flavors being offered are Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, traditional cookies, Chilean raspberry, Colombian passion fruit and Bengal mango.
Backers can pick up a CUPPLE machine for €250 (~$300 USD, plus $44 shipping to the U.S.), which comes with 24 cups of ice cream and is supposed to ship in June of 2021. Additional cups can be purchase in multi-packs that cost between €2.5 ($2.95) to €2.10 ($2.48) per cup. The CUPPLE has already blown past its Kickstarter goal of $47,000 to raise more than $86,000, with 12 days still left to go in its campaign.
As much as I like ice cream, I don’t think CUPPLE will count me as a backer. First, that’s a lot of money for a single-use device (okay, dual use if you count sorbet as a separate thing). But more importantly, I’m not a huge fan of proprietary, Keurig-style machines. What happens if CUPPLE shuts down? What can I do with it then if there are no cups to re-order?
Additionally, as with any Kickstarter hardware project, there are concerns about whether the product will ship on time. There’s a big leap between building a prototype and building at scale (just ask Cinder and Rite Press). Plus in the Risks section of the campaign, the company says that its still perfecting the sterilization of its ice mix packaging and may only ship sorbets at first.
I’d love for a company to create an easier (and affordable) way to for at-home consumers to make ice cream, but I don’t think CUPPLE is the solution for me.